Night. The airport terminals were empty. Footsteps echoed in the open halls as the silhouettes of several people passed by. Occasionally, a voice from the loudspeaker reminded passengers of their boarding times.
Twilight descended and night seeped slowly through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Ou Chen walked woodenly onwards, eyes moist, the dark cracks in his heart deepening without any sign of stopping, widening as he painfully departed.
“I thought you would change your mind…”
A voice drifted to his ears from far away, dreamlike yet so clear. Ou Chen stopped in his tracks but didn’t turn. He smiled bitterly. He was actually hallucinating, actually conjuring up the voice he had hoped to hear the most. She must still be at the awards ceremony, how could she even be here?
He kept walking.
His arm, however, was grasped tightly from behind.
That strength… the trembling fingers…
It didn’t feel like an illusion…
Ou Chen faltered to a stop, hesitantly turning around. The darkness continued to drift inward through the windows. The air was tugged from his lungs, the silence deepened… a slim person stood before him, so real yet unreal…
Gradually, the fog in his mind cleared. Under the suddenly blazing lights of the terminal, grasping his arm tightly, keeping him from walking away was… that girl. She was wearing a pale blue evening gown, her eyes brimming with radiance. It really was her– Yin Xia Mo!
She was still the Yin Xia Mo of the films, the one he had just seen accepting an award on screen.
Her forehead was dotted with beads of sweat, almost as if she had hurried over after a desperate and flustered search. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes flashing with turmoil. Her breaths came uneven, and the fingers gripping his arm were still trembling slightly.
“You… how are you here…?” Ou Chen looked at her stiffly, voice sounding hoarsely from his throat.
“I hurried over from the awards ceremony, thank goodness I caught you!”
Xia Mo’s chest heaved with anxiety. She raised her head and smiled at him, left hand still holding tightly to his arm, as if afraid that the moment she let go… he would leave.
Ou Chen stared at her fixedly. To this moment, he still thought she was only an illusion.
“I peeked at that letter, so I knew you wanted to leave…” said Xia Mo apologetically. She continued softly, “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have read it, but I felt uneasy. I asked the housekeeper to check your flight, and begged him to call me as soon as you walked out the door.”
Her gaze fell on the luggage in his hands. Stricken, she said, “But I always thought you would change your mind. I thought that when I came back from the awards ceremony, I would see you… how can you really just leave like this Ou Chen? It’s not like you…”
Ou Chen shut his eyes tightly, voice hoarse as he asked, “What’s more like me? Forcing you to stay by my side without caring about your wishes? Having you for myself without caring about who you really love? Is that more like me?”
“No, not at all!” Yin Xia Mo cried nervously. “I didn’t mean it like that!”
She held onto his arm even more tightly, truly afraid that he would leave if she let go. Taking a moment to calm herself down, she exhaled and said quietly, “Did you hear what I said to you during the awards ceremony? I didn’t express myself clearly, did I? Ou Chen, if I didn’t have you, I couldn’t have pulled myself out from the pit of despair that consumed me after Xiao Cheng’s death. It was you who helped me and supported me time and time again. So please don’t leave, please?”
Ou Chen took in her nervous expression, his heartbreaking even more. He could tell… she really, truly wanted him to stay.
That was enough for him… it didn’t matter why or how… that was enough…
“I’m sorry, Xia Mo…” His eyes brimmed with despair. “I made so many mistakes in the past, and I can’t keep on hurting you like this. My leaving… would truly make you free.”
Ou Chen’s deeply moved gaze made the blood in Xia Mo’s heartburn.
“But I’ve also made so many mistakes,” she said gently. “I didn’t tell you… I want to be with you… forever.”
“You shouldn’t force yourself like this.” Ou Chen said brusquely, struggling to remain rational to quell the fire in his veins. He wanted her to find happiness, to be with the one she truly loved.
“I was going to tell you tonight, but I thought telling you with an award in hand would be more romantic.” She smiled shyly like a little girl, unlike her usual cool and collected self. “Of course, if I hadn’t won, I would have still told you.”
Her hand drifted from his arm and found his hand instead. Her palm was soft, radiating warmth like the sun. Her voice, too, was filled with the sun’s warmth.
“Ou Chen, Luo Xi is in the past… I admit that I had once liked him, but that was before I married you. No matter why I married you, I’m your wife and I’ve already… fallen in love with you.”
Ou Chen’s heart exploded… did she really just speak that word?
“Ou Chen, I’m not forcing myself to do anything…” She breathed in deeply and said once more with conviction, “I love you, so please don’t abandon the baby and me and leave by yourself…”
The world suddenly became an illusion; Ou Chen lost his mind, lost every rational fiber in his body. The blood in his veins burned as he struggled through fire and ice in the hell that was his mind.
“That’s very irresponsible of you, you know,” Xia Mo teased softly. “Do you really want me to tell our child that he has an irresponsible father?”
Her eyes shone with humor but her rapid breathing betrayed the anxiety that was in her heart.
It was then that a voice sounded from overhead, announcing that the flight to Paris was boarding.
Ou Chen’s heart split open once more. Waves of pain overwhelmed him, even more, painful than what he had felt when he had made his decision to leave.
“But you have no reason to love me.” If she was lying… that would be the cruelest thing she could ever do to him. “My possessiveness is terrifying. I’ve made so many mistakes and hurt you so much… how could you have fallen in love with me?”
“If all of these mistakes happened because you love me, if all of this pain that we’ve experience came about because of me… if you love me so much that you’ve chosen to leave… then how could I not have fallen in love with you?”
Xia Mo gazed at him, the corners of her mouth lifting in a gentle smile. Her eyes became moist.
“Do you really believe… that my heart is made of stone?”
It was her tears that finally defeated him!
Ou Chen pulled her roughly into his arms, using every essence of his body to hold her to his chest. Warm tears fell on her shoulders as his arms wrapped around her even more tightly. His voice sounded huskily by her ear:
“If you’re lying to me… if you’re lying to me…”
Xia Mo hugged him back tightly, murmuring softly into his chest, “I know you might not believe me now, but give me a chance. Give me a chance to show you, to prove my love to you…”
The last boarding call for the flight to Paris sounded. Passengers disappeared through the gate one by one.
In the vast and empty airport terminal, the last rays of daylight disappeared as night finally blanketed the world.
There, in his and her arms, they held onto each other tightly, as if they would never let go. Forever and always.